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Volume 5, Issue 8 | August 2016

This month marks TWENTY YEARS (!) that I left the Big Apple and headed west. The time has surely flown by and Life has surely dished out a lot of adventures and many people have come into my life over that period. Thanks to all I've met on the journey, not just over the past score of years, but throughout.
Arrival in Santa Fe -  Sep. 1996
Despite living out here this long, I'm still not used to the school calendar. Back east, the first day of school doesn't usually start until early September, just after Labor Day; it also goes clear through to the end of June. Here in the desert, school starts in early August and ends in May. So yes, school's back in session now...
With school on my mind, this video involves former students of a music teacher. It's about people expressing love and gratitude for one another; it's inspiring, and feeds my soul. The icing on the cake for me is I consider the song in it my 'signature' song of the early days of when I first "came to believe."
Enjoy! And, yes, you'll probably want to keep the tissues nearby.


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Inspiration and Contemplation
"Self-realization is the knowing - in body, mind, and soul - that we are one with the omnipresence of God..." - Paramahansa Yogananda

This past Sunday I attended the Self-Realization Fellowship in Phoenix; it was my first time at SRF.  I must say that I was touched the minute I sat down in the temple, and my heart opened - which it sorely needed.

Founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1920, among its aims and ideals is to disseminate a knowledge of definite scientific techniques for attaining direct personal experience of God; and, to liberate people from the three-fold suffering of physical disease, mental in-harmonies, and spiritual ignorance. SRF teaches that the purpose of life is the evolution, through self-effort, of man's limited mortal consciousness into God Consciousness and its focus is on daily, scientific, devotional meditation on God.

I have read Autobiography of a Yogi about three times - but only about 2/3 through each time! While I find the writing most interesting, there is something that has stopped me from completing reading Yogananda's book. I think that perhaps now I am ready to learn more about this path, get more involved in it. I have started reading the book again and think this time I will read it cover to cover, for I feel very eager and my heart is full... which all in all, makes me feel most grateful - my soul is getting nourished.

How do YOU feed you soul? Email me - I'd love to know!

7 Differences Between Spirituality and Religion    

Years ago, when I became willing to believe and open to the possibility of a Higher Power, it was just about the first time I had heard the word "spirituality." Of course, I had no clue what it referred to; I only knew about "religion," which did not suit me. Twenty six years down the road now, I've got a clue!

The referenced article below discusses differences between spirituality and religion.... like "Religion tells you to follow an ideology and obey certain rules or you'll be punished otherwise. Spirituality lets you follow your heart and what you feel is right." Another one: "Religion tells you what to fear and tells you consequences. Spirituality makes you aware of the consequences but doesn't want you to focus on the fear."

Read one person's take on the differences in the article on
People Helping People
Dutch Pragmatism at Its Best...
Some time back I included an article about a senior residence also being home to a day care center; it was a rich experience for both generations!
Here's another mixing of generations, and people helping people. At Humanitas, a Dutch retirement home, students can live for free if they agree to spend at least 30 hours a month socializing with the older residents. Drinking games, sex talk, and jigsaws - young and old live side-by-side sharing the joys of life, and the sadness of death, together.
It's another great experiment and rich experience of bringing generations back together in our nuclear family societies (and of helping to alleviate the toll of budget cuts on elder care). 
For the longer, BBC version, click this link: 

Well, the weather here in the desert is slowly heading towards fall climate - and, some proof of this is that the snowbirds are starting to return! I'm just about ready to say that I made it through my first Phoenix summer in 6 years - and did pretty well at it! Of course, staying in a/c 24/7 and going north to my beloved Sedona - my former home - and floating on the Verde River, helped!

Until we cross ways again on this journey called Life -
Joyce's signature  
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